If you are considering adoption, you probably have a lot of questions. What are the benefits of adoption? What type of adoption is right for my baby and me? What does an open adoption look like? Is open adoption a good idea?
We’ll take a look at each of these questions.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of adoption for each person in the adoption triad – you, as the birth mother, your baby, the adoptee, and the adoptive parents.
Benefits of Adoption for the Birth Mother
Providing a Better Life for Your Child
Suppose you aren’t in a position to begin being a parent or to add to your family. In that case, adoption is a great option to give your baby a chance at a better life than you might be able to provide. Prospective adoptive parents are screened to ensure they can physically, financially, and emotionally provide for a child.
Doing What’s Best for Your Future
Facing an unplanned pregnancy can halt your education or career. Placing your baby for adoption gives you an opportunity to meet your educational and career goals.
Young birth mothers are more likely to finish their education and complete a higher education when they place their child for adoption instead of becoming a parent. Birth mothers who place their child for adoption are also less likely to live below the poverty line than single mothers are.
In most states, there is financial assistance for birth mothers placing their child for adoption. You may be eligible to receive financial aid for living expenses, including food, rent, and utilities. You may also be eligible to receive financial help for medical costs, legal fees, and counseling services. There may even be an aid for purchasing maternity clothes.
What type and how much financial assistance you are eligible for will depend on federal and state laws. Each state has its own laws regarding financial assistance for birth mothers. Your adoption counselor will be able to help you get any financial assistance you qualify for.
Benefits of Adoption for Prospective Adoptive Parents
When you place your child for adoption, you give prospective adoptive parents a special gift – the opportunity to be a parent for the first time or add to their family.
Infertility and impaired fertility are fairly common in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8% of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 are infertile. In addition, 13.1% of women who are 15 to 49 years of age have impaired infertility. Impaired fertility is defined as having difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term.
Infertility can be caused by a number of things. A few possible causes for infertility include myotonic dystrophy, polycystic ovary syndrome, certain types of chemotherapy, premature ovarian insufficiency (premature menopause), a malfunctioning pituitary gland, blocked fallopian tubes, and Klinefelter’s syndrome.
Not all infertile couples can afford the steep price of in-vitro fertilization. While adoption does have some fees associated with it, it is substantially less costly than in-vitro fertilization.
Furthermore, adoption allows single people and LGBT couples an opportunity to be parents, whereas they may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise.
Adoption is such a beautiful thing because it allows people to become parents who may not have had the opportunity to otherwise. Adoption gives prospective adoptive parents the chance to fulfill their lifelong dreams of becoming parents and doing all the things they dreamed of doing with their kids, such as teaching them how to ride a bike, playing catch with them in the backyard, helping them with homework, hosting sleepovers for their friends, throwing them birthday parties, watching them graduate from high school, and walking them down the aisle at their wedding.
Providing a Loving Home
Adoption allows adoptive parents the wonderful opportunity to provide a child with a safe, stable, and loving home environment. Sometimes birth parents cannot provide a baby with the type of home environment they need for a number of reasons.
Adoption gives adoptive parents the chance to develop a deep, meaningful bond with their adopted child, one that will last a lifetime. Adoptive parents are overjoyed when they see their adopted child achieve goals and dreams. They get a great deal of satisfaction watching their adopted child take their first steps, play sports, perform in a school play, get a good grade in a subject they struggled with, go to college, achieve career goals, and get married and have a family of their own.
Benefits of Adoption for the Adoptee
An adoptee benefits from adoption in several ways, too.
Birth mothers choose to place their child for adoption for many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is that the birth parents cannot provide their child with the safe, stable home they need. Prospective adoptive parents spend time preparing themselves and their home for a child before adoption. Prospective adoptive parents can give your child a financially, physically, and emotionally stable home life. Your child may also receive opportunities with an adoptive family that you may not be able to provide for them, such as access to higher education.
Types of Adoption
Now that we’ve explored some of the benefits of adoption for each person in the adoption triad let’s take a look at the three types of adoption you can choose from.
A closed adoption used to be the most traditional and popular type of adoption. While it is still an option today, open and semi-open adoptions are more common. In a closed adoption, the birth parents’ records are sealed – the adoptee and the birth parents do not know anything about one another.
In semi-open adoptions, you, as the birth mother, can have an indirect relationship with the adoptive family and the baby you placed for adoption. You and the adoptive parents can communicate with one another through a third party, such as your adoption agency or a lawyer. All identifying information is kept private. This is a good option for adoptive parents who want to maintain their privacy. Some birth mothers choose semi-open adoption in hopes that a less intimate relationship will allow them to move forward more easily with their lives.
Open adoptions allow the adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptee to have a direct relationship. Identifying information about the birth parents and adoptive parents is shared in an open adoption. The birth parents and adoptive parents have contact with one another both before and after placement occurs.
Open adoptions are unique – no two will look exactly alike. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of open adoption.
Benefits of Open Adoption
Perhaps the biggest advantage to open adoptions is that you get to have a direct relationship with the adoptive parents and your child. What your relationship with the adoptive parents and your child looks like will be completely up to you and the adoptive parents.
It’s a good idea to talk about the type of contact and how much contact you want to have with the prospective adoptive parents and your child at pre-placement meetings. You and the prospective adoptive parents should agree upon what type and how often you will have contact. You may want to revisit the topic periodically as well.
The types of contact you have can include receiving photos through the mail or through email, phone calls, and visits. You may agree to an annual in-person visit or visits that happen more frequently. If you decide to talk on the phone regularly with the adoptive parents, it may be helpful to choose a time and date to talk. This will help everyone maintain boundaries and expectations.
Before you agree on what type and how often your contact will be, make sure everyone feels comfortable and happy with the arrangement. As a birth mother, what you want is as important as what the prospective adoptive parents want. If you revisit your agreement periodically, you can make changes, allowing for more or less contact, depending on what everyone wants.
Access to Medical History
In an open adoption, the adoptive parents can ask you about your medical history, and you can update them with developments in your family’s medical history as they occur. This could be invaluable information for adoptive parents to have if the child becomes ill. A child’s medical and family history can help a doctor make a correct diagnosis more quickly.
Answers to Questions
It’s inevitable. At some point, your child will have questions about why you placed them for adoption. Open adoption allows you the opportunity to talk to your child and answer any questions about why you placed them. It will be one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have, but having answers to their questions can help your child make sense of where they came from and who they are. You’ll also be able to explain first-hand how your decision to place your child for adoption was the most loving thing you could have done.
Choosing a Family
Open adoption allows you to meet with and choose the family you place your child with.
Once you decide to place your baby, you will begin to look at adoptive parent profiles. When you find one you think might be right for your child, you’ll be able to meet with and talk to the prospective adoptive parents either on the phone or in person. The meeting will be awkward, but it provides an invaluable opportunity for you and the prospective adoptive parents to get to know one another. At this meeting, you’ll be able to ask the prospective adoptive parents any questions you have for them to help you determine if they are a good fit for your child. Pre-placement meetings may be the beginning of a wonderful relationship between you and the adoptive parents, one that will last for years to come as your child grows up in their adoptive home.
Two Families to Love
Open adoption will give your child two families to love. Not only will they have an adoptive family to love them, but they’ll have a relationship with you as well. Your child will have a large network of supportive adults in their life, meaning they should always have someone to turn to when they need support or encouragement.
Peace of Mind
Watching your child grow up will give you peace of mind. In an open adoption, you can see first-hand how well your child is doing with their adoptive family. You can rest assured knowing that you made the loving decision to place them.
Is Open Adoption a Good Idea?
This is a question I can’t answer because it depends on your situation and what you want. Open adoption is a wonderful option if you want to maintain a direct relationship with your child and their adoptive parents throughout their life.
I have heard some beautiful stories from birth mothers who have placed their children with open adoptions. I’ve never heard a birth mother say that she regretted placing her child with open adoption.
One beautiful story I heard from a birth mother was featured on the “Birth Mothers Amplified” podcast hosted by Emma and Muthoni. The birth mother, Laurie, placed her son with an open adoption in the 1990s when open adoption was a new concept.
Laurie shared how her relationship with the adoptive parents and her son grew and blossomed over time. Laurie went on to have two more biological children and get married years after placing her son. Because she placed her son with an open adoption, he was able to have a relationship with his biological siblings and even be part of Laurie’s wedding when she got married.
Laurie was there to answer all of her son’s difficult questions about why she placed him for adoption. They seem to share a close relationship today.
You can listen to Laurie’s story on “Birth Mothers Amplified” Season 1, Episode 4.
If you are considering adoption, open adoption is advantageous for everyone in the adoption triad. Remember that what type of adoption you choose is completely up to you. Consider all of your choices and make the decision you feel is right for yourself and your baby for the long term.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.
Sierra Koester is an award-winning freelance writer and professional blogger. She earned her BA in Psychology in 2004 and has worked with several nonprofit agencies. She began her writing career in 2006 and has written extensively in the areas of health, psychology, and pets. Sierra advocates for the adoption of children as well as homeless animals. When she isn’t writing, you can find Sierra with her nose in a book or hanging out with her two kitties, Carmine, a wise old orange tabby Sierra adopted when he was a kitten, and Tylan, a cat whom Sierra adopted after he was rescued from a hoarding situation in Thailand. You can learn more about Sierra by visiting http://www.sierrakoester.blogspot.com.